Latest policing research published by Deakin criminologist Diarmaid Harkin

Diarmaid profile picDeakin Lecturer in Criminology Dr Diarmaid Harkin has this week had two articles which examine policing published in leading UK criminology journals. These articles stem from research undertaken by Diarmaid as part of his PhD in Criminology at the University of Edinburgh. Drawing on that research as well as that undertaken since arriving at Deakin in December 2014, Diarmaid is fast developing an impressive publication record in this area. Details of the two articles are presented below.

‘Simmel, the Police Form and the limits of Democratic Policing’

This article, sole-authored by Diarmaid, has been published (advance access) in The British Journal of Criminology.

Article abstract:

I argue that the social theory of Georg Simmel can be used to illustrate certain limitations to the potential of democratic policing. Simmel makes a number of claims about trust, secrecy and accountability that are shown to have immediate relevance to my empirical case study of police–public consultation forums in Edinburgh, Scotland. Two particular aspects of the ‘form’ of the police–public relationship—the police’s command of non-negotiable force and inequality in the reciprocity of information—play a key role in limiting some of the principal aspirations of democratic policing theory. There are permanent barriers to improving the democratic credentials of the police I argue, yet positive and progressive change is still achievable.

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Police legitimacy, ideology and qualitative methods: A critique of procedural justice theory

Diarmaid’s second policing article (also sole-authored) has been published (online before print) in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Article abstract:

I argue that there are unconsidered complexities to police legitimacy and use examples from my study of police–public consultation forums in Edinburgh, Scotland to illustrate. I make a number of conceptual and methodological critiques by drawing upon Steven Lukes’ social theory on power to show how legitimacy can be a product of authority relations as much as it is a cause of authority relations. This view finds support from systems-justification theory. I also tackle Beetham’s conception of legitimacy and argue that there is evidence from police studies that the police breach his key antecedents to legitimacy without incurring the expected consequences. Furthermore, I take an original methodological approach to studying police legitimacy which reveals additional insights. For instance, Bottoms and Tankebe suggest legitimacy addresses multiple ‘audiences’; I would also add that it addresses multiple recipients as legitimacy is shown to vary among officers and positions of rank.

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